With cancel culture - or at least the idea of it, causing comedians to consider their jokes and how Dave Chappelle has taken a more deliberate social commentary approach to his specials, the landscape of Stand up comedy has taken an interesting turn. Jerrod Carmichael continues that trend and turns it completely inward. His new stand up… well, sit down (since he sat the entire show) titled Rothaniel is an introspective look on his personal life and some of his revelations.
Jerrod spent the hour in full reflection mode, if you watched his show The Carmichael Show, (which I'm a huge fan of) some of these stories will sound familiar, but it did not change how poignant his delivery was. His stories and jokes were relatable… a little too relatable as I realized I was laughing through the pain of my own family matters. His family, in a lot of ways, is my family. His stories, albeit not the same as mine, still strike home in a way that is both funny and familiar.
It’s Jerrod’s usual dry yet dark humor, but this time he gives you more of him. He achieves a level of vulnerability that we don’t see out of most people, let alone a comic. It feels raw, you can see how he’s actively grappling with the problems he’s joking about in real time. There is also this comfort that the audience grows into, so much that it’s no longer a standup special but an interactive experience. Jerrod uses silence as a punchline, a transition piece, and to gather his thoughts. Sometimes it feels louder than the laughter.
Jerrod’s jokes land flush, and his emotions stick with you even after he walks off stage and the credits roll. The special is only 60 minutes, but you leave feeling like you know him personally. Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel is streaming now on HBO Max.